The Truth about Living in Goa
As you know, Team No Nasties packed up our organic, fairtrade bags and made the big move from Bombay to Goa three years ago. Be gone, traffic! Come to mama, susegad!
We've waxed lyrical about our new adopted home state before. Goa's beaches, lush greenery and sweeping vistas have certainly permeated our designs and provided gorgeous photoshoot locations. Those squeezed-on-the-spot juices and fish thalis aren't half bad either.
But what's it really like to run our business here?
Here is what our fresh-from-the-city, starry-eyed dreams imagined our life would look like when we first came to these shores:
6am: Waking up to the sound of birds and church bells, we roll out of bed for a relaxed morning of reading and a freshly-brewed cuppa.
8am: Yoga. Ahhh. S-t-r-e-t-c-h.
10am: Making healthy Pinterest-worthy breakfasts to eat on our veranda, and generally soaking up the beauty of the day like nothing short of a Disney princess singing to a squirrel.
11am: Reach work – but no emails just yet! Let's crack on with some big-picture project stuff. You know, the things that make your heart thump a bit louder and get you all fired up. Booyah!
1pm: Before you know it, it's lunch hour. Where shall we go today? Eva Cafe, then dip our toes in the sea? Bean Me Up, and finish with the best raw vegan desserts under the tropical sun? Baba Au Rhum for some french baked goods? Artjuna for Middle-eastern? Nah, let's go to the local haunt, Vinayak - family owned, delicious Goan food, located on the edge of a paddy field. And hey, there's totally time to stop for a tender coconut on the way back.
(Photos: The yoga shala, the verandah & the lovely Eva cafe)
2-4pm: We'll get down to correspondence emails and work with the team to make sure everything's running like clockwork across the business. Chai? Go on then.
4-6pm: And then, having totally shown our work diaries who's boss, it's time for an ocean swim. Oh, unless it's an Ultimate Frisbee day. But that's on the beach too, so not far to go to cool off our feet after the workout. Not far to the bar for a feni and Limca, either. When in Goa...
6pm-zzz: What's the number one rule? No work after sunset! We like our evenings free to switch off, meet friends, cook at home, have a drink, sleep early. After all, those squirrels will need serenading tomorrow too.
(Photos: Miles of beaches, paddy fields and sunsets)
That's the dream. Here's the reality.
We might do early morning yoga every day for a month. And love it! But then we're out of town travelling and eek... the habit slips.
We spend much longer hours in the office dealing with small issues, erratic internet connections, customer service, chasing down the Fedex guy, running out of boxes. There's a lot of firefighting! Because we're a small business and that's just how it works – but with some extra Goa madness thrown in. All that can mean less time to work on the 'big picture' view because dropping all the other things being juggled just isn't an option. Hey look, the neighbours’ cow is in our yard again.
Lunch gets skipped. We get sucked into our computers and suddenly... oh no... it takes effort to go to the beach! It's something we really have to remind ourselves to do for our own sanity – it's such a short season and a bookend to the day that is so relaxing when we make it a priority. But oh, the internet just went down again. And where is that Fedex guy?!
(Photos: The new office, the commute & where's the Fedex guy!?)
So our reality can look a little different. But you know what – it's worth it.
We work longer hours, but they're still more peaceful somehow. Not having to commute or stress out over traffic means we don't start and end the day feeling super hassled. For us – though we know it’s different for everyone – a long day in Goa still beats a half day in the city, hands down!
Moving not just ourselves but our stock to Goa has also been hugely rewarding. There's already been so much to learn and enjoy about bringing our warehouse back in-house: we love being able to add more of a personal touch, to take on special requests and improve order turnaround time. As a brand focused on sustainability it's also been fun to hunt out reusable packaging – are you the lucky customer whose big No Nasties order turned up in a Parle G biscuits box?!
Outside of work, we've also been blessed to find an awesome community here. Goa has a great crowd of socially-conscious people, and because the group is smaller it's way more interactive and great for getting to know folks. A little effort to shut down the laptop on time is rewarded with a reliably fun social scene: Monday night is reserved for cultural & social night at 6 Assagoa, Tuesday evenings is movie night at Tamarind with Wall Fly...and the list goes on. Plenty to choose from...or plenty to skip to find that inner JOMO.
So, if we knew 'back then' that cycle rides down to the sand and leisurely big-picture dreaming would have to budge over just a tad for a bit more real life, would we still make the move?
No question. This is home now. It might not be rose-tinted, but it's still sunny as heck.